This is the first of a series of essays about happiness that I've been talking about for forever (okay, six months) and finally decided to write so that I can talk about something new.
Yesterday I called my aunt with big news.
"I just bought my first umbrella!"
We both laughed, but it was another one of those times when people laugh when I'm at my most serious.
Purchasing my first umbrella was a solemn occasion. I tried out almost every umbrella Walmart had available. I opened and closed them to determine their size. I considered somberly the difference between a small umbrella that folds up to be shorter than the length of my shoe and an old fashioned cane-shaped umbrella that can double as a weapon in times of emergency. I contemplated colors: polka dots on white, polka dots on black, stripes, tropical leaves, leopard print, pink, turquoise, and even clear plastic so you can look up through the umbrella and see what the rain looks like.
I selected a compact black umbrella (size XL, for Jumbo Family) that will blend nicely into the dark of night when I finally begin my ninja career. It will also cover me and my backpack with lots of room to spare.
Now I have an umbrella, which delights me. At first I thought this was because I'm easily delighted - which is certainly true. But it's not the whole truth.
I'm easily delighted because the happiness muscle in my heart is strong.
Just like anyone can sprint downhill, anyone can be happy when everything is going well. But it takes a lot more stamina and endurance to sprint uphill. It takes training to be genuinely happy over a new umbrella.
But the happier you are, and the more often that you're happy, the stronger that happiness muscle gets. It's like lifting weights.
For example: It's late September now, and in Texas it's still fluctuating between
upper nineties and high sixties, but in another month or two winter will
be upon us. Wind. Storms. Rain. Cold. But as long as it doesn't
actually rain sideways (which is not something I would put past the
weather around here), I will be nice and dry. Hooray for umbrellas!
Now I could wait to be happy about being cold and dry instead of cold and wet until the bad weather starts. But why wait to be happy later when you can get a head start today?
If you can find happiness in a new umbrella, you can find happiness in almost anything.